September 24th, 2008
10:56 AM ET
10 years ago

McCain aide: New York Times an 'Obama advocacy organization'

The NYT story is charging that Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager has accepted retainers from Freddie Mac.

The NYT story is charging that Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager has accepted retainers from Freddie Mac.

(CNN) - A senior McCain aide reacted to the latest New York Times investigation into a top campaign advisor Wednesday with a scathing memo that called the Times a “failing business” and the allegation “demonstrably false.”

The story, which charges that a firm formerly headed by campaign manager Rick Davis had received a monthly $15,000 retainer from mortgage giant Freddie Mac until the government took it over this month – is “a partisan attack falsely labeled as objective news” from “an Obama advocacy organization,” wrote McCain spokesman Michael Goldfarb.

The paper, said Goldfarb, “obscures its true intentions - to undermine the candidacy of John McCain and boost the candidacy of Barack Obama - under the cloak of objective journalism.”

The memo is the latest salvo in a heated battle between the McCain campaign and the paper. Relations between McCain and the Times have been at a low ebb for months, since the paper explored the relationship between the candidate and a female lobbyist.

A weekend Times investigation into campaign manager Rick Davis’s links to a lobbying coalition, and the challenge of recent campaign misstatements, was met with a Monday morning conference call of complaint from Davis and senior advisor Steve Schmidt to reporters. That call was notable for the hostility directed by Schmidt - who had earlier accused the media of being on a “mission to destroy” Sarah Palin - at journalists in general, and the Times in particular.

Schmidt’s Monday conference call criticism was the toughest yet: the Times, he said, was “150 percent in the tank” for Obama. The statement drew a defiant response from managing editor Bill Keller.

Reporters in Washington expecting a rare lunch briefing from Rick Davis Wednesday were sent a message late Tuesday afternoon he was unexpectedly back “on the trail” - as news broke of the new Times piece calling his recent denials of a financial relationship with mortgage giant Freddie Mac into question.

“The New York Times is trying to fill an ideological niche,” wrote Goldfarb. “It is a business decision, and one made under economic duress, as the New York Times is a failing business. But the paper's reporting on Senator McCain, his campaign, and his staff should be clearly understood by the American people for what it is: a partisan assault aimed at promoting that paper’s preferred candidate, Barack Obama.”

In his memo, posted on the campaign’s Web site Wednesday morning, Goldfarb said Davis had not been a paid lobbyist since 2005, and had never lobbied on behalf of either Freddie Mac or fellow lender Fannie Mae. The Times piece did not allege that Davis had performed services on the company’s behalf.

Goldfarb said Davis had not received any income from the firm, Davis Manafort, since 2006 – and accused the Times of failing to investigate similar charges leveled against David Axelrod, Barack Obama’s senior strategist.

On Tuesday, the Obama team circulated a list detailing what it called several dozen Times investigations into the Democratic nominee, his family and his campaign.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (532 Responses)
  1. Obama- Next Stop.. White House

    Imagine if Obama had as many scandals, goofs & gaffs as McClown has had during this General Election & the Primaries and throughout his career. This election would have been over a long time ago.

    And the McClown cappaign has the NERVE to ALWAYS cry foul about the Media in the tank for OBAMA.


    Barack Your Vote

    September 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. Justin Eilers

    Why can't Republicans deal with facts. McCain has been caught in multiple big lies and has even made commercials about the lies. Is it really worth find small things about Obama to counter huge McCain lies. Are you guys that insecure that you cannot see a lie. It is fair election coverage when you call a liar a liar. Bravo to the NY Times for not lettinf liars get their way.

    September 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. Jean, CANADA

    Keating Five
    Keating Five
    Keating Five
    Keating Five
    Keating Five

    Look it up and see what it is JOHN MCCAINS LEGACY IS REALLY ABOUT.

    You can review history and you can treasure it....but YOU CAN NOT HIDE FROM HISTORY JOHN MCAIN

    OBAMA 08, 12 THE TRUTH.

    September 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Bridget

    Is it not true? Why are they attacking the messenger without trying to debunk the message? Perhaps because it's TRUE.

    September 24, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. Nikki, Florida

    We're going to listen to the guy who said "this election isn't about the issues"??

    Give me a break!

    September 24, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. Helen in Minneapolis

    Notice that the McCain folks did NOT say that the reported information is untrue. What they did say is that the NY Times took part in “a partisan attack falsely labeled as objective news” . They know it's true and are using semantics to respond to their lie. If Rick Davis is innocent, why not just say "the reports are false and Rick Davis is innocent"? Why the spin and the attacks on the media???

    And on another note...why hide Sarah Palin if she is ready to lead? Let her answer questions. Stop controlling her because it makes her appear weak and unprepared. They are acting as if she is too fragile to stand up for what she believes in. What a travesty!

    Lastly-the media should refuse to cover Sarah Palin until she answers questions from the media on her own.

    September 24, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. Cheryl Wilson

    POW McCain is just mounting a attacks on everyone nowadays. I guess in his mind everyone is the enemy. I used to think McCain was just plain senile. Now, I believe he is neurotic.

    September 24, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. Shartman

    Goldfarb is partially correct; the "ideological niche" the Times tries to fill is called "reality". There are not two sides to this issue; the NYT has investigated members of both campaigns and both parties. They printed all of the shrill attacks against Hillary and Michelle Obama long before they "dared" to question Palin. You can't have your cake and eat it too jerks. Learn to look at reality, or be condemned to living in the imaginary world you are retreating into, where the economy is strong, Iraq made us safer, and as long as we keep giving more money to the wealthy things will get better for all of us.

    September 24, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  9. Tony

    Of course the New York Times is an Obama advocacy group, along with the rest of the liberal main stream media. It almost sickening to watch them try to act impartial. Everyone knows that the news media is biased.

    September 24, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  10. Jorge

    Note to Noah:
    Who is Richard Raines?
    Do you mean Franklin Raines? McCain lied when he stated that Raines advised the Obama campaign.

    September 24, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  11. Kat

    And Fox News is owned by Whom? And Speaks for which party? Please – once again, the pot calling the kettle black... I am so tired of McSame and the GOP using the same tired attacks when they have nothing of substance to offer this great nation!

    September 24, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  12. Lacy

    So why doesn't John SYDNEY McCain and his campaign have a problem with fox news?

    Well actually they will soon. It seems even some of thier people are getting fed up with him and his campaign.

    September 24, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  13. Ron L

    Poor Poor McCain Campaign..
    Why's everybody always picking on them??
    BECAUSE...They are truly some of the BIGGEST liars, exaggerators, and frankly mean spirited (close to haters) I have seen in politics in the last 20 years.
    I never thought it possible but they are WORST than the Karl Rove group...
    Senator McCain HAS become EXACTLY what he promised he never would..a sellout to own principles in trying to win....

    September 24, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. Hoang Lee

    Can we say KEATING 5 all over again for McCain. The only lessons McCain learned from the Keating 5 scandal were how to better cover his tracks.

    Rick davis is a CROOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    tax payer money you're a thief!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    September 24, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. RJH

    Hey CNN ! Did the McCain campaign manager take the "monthly $15,000 retainer from mortgage giant Freddie Mac" , or didn't he?
    I'd like to know the truth.

    September 24, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  16. Howard

    you better add CNN, and especially Jack Cafferty to that list. CNN, all your online articles are slanted in behalf of Obama. You show at least twice as many pictures of Obama. Your blogs always close, after they're 'front loaded' with pro Obama posts. Your blog moderator always favors pro Obama posts. The external blog sites you always link readers to are always far left, pro Obama blog sites, like Truthdig, or DailyKo's, or Crooks n' Liars. CNN ... you're obviously sooo in the tank for Obama ... let's see if this blog posting actually gets published.

    September 24, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. Patty

    Has anyone notice that when a Rep attacts a news paper or Media it's because they tell the truth.

    September 24, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  18. Joseph

    when you get caught with your hands in the cookie jar blame the media. this election is over, you loose, you so desperate to be president that you sold your soul.
    shame on you and the rest of your republican buddies.

    September 24, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  19. KC

    To A Voice in VA, Glenn Beck is a joke. Why don't you do your reasearch and stay away from cable tv, you can only belive the FACTS. Get them!

    September 24, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. marie - ohio


    September 24, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  21. Randy, San Francisco

    The McCain/Palin campaign is in trouble....when is he going to unleash Karl Rove and the Swift Boaters to go on the attack?

    September 24, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  22. pam

    ya think!! Mainstream media is DEAD!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. sh in Austin

    wait...did somebody actually say "Foxnews is the closest we can get to fair and balanced"??


    come on, now...BWAAHAHAHAAAAA


    okay, look...has everybody forgotten the WEEKS AND WEEKS of Rev. Wright and Wm. Ayers coverage during the primary??

    you couldn't turn on your tv without seeing that crap, and it went on for over a MONTH

    and maybe it's just me, but i tend to think, in our current circumstance, someone's campaign manager's firm getting paid $15,000/month by one of these giant firms embroiled in the current fiasco is a bit more...RELEVANT to my life and decisions than what someone's preacher said or who someone's neighbor is.

    be honest, people...both sides have been hammered pretty thoroughly. we are blinded by our partisanship. try and step outside your personal partisan bubble and see this objectively.

    in the meantime...nobody, and i mean NOBODY, can call Fox 'fair and balanced' with a straight face. i mean...wait...BWAAHAHAHAAAAA!!!

    September 24, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. Jim - Philadelphia

    As long as you're talking about how corrupt McCain and his cronies and lipstick pig, you aren't talking about the fact that they can do NOTHING for the American people.

    That's what McCain and his hord of theives wants.

    But it won't work this time. Lipstick or not, they are still pigs.

    Go Obama!

    September 24, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  25. Honestlady

    The Repubs are some crybabies. I don't hear them complaining about FOX News consistently 'advocating for McCain'. At least other news stations have guests with various opinions when it comes to this election cycle. Not Fox News, everyone on this station...even guests...are 'in the tank' for McCain. I wonder if it is a requirement that you are a Republican in order to even get a job at Fox News??? Very strange.

    September 24, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
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